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NZTech Q&A: Edwina Mistry


Meet TechWomen’s newly appointed executive director, Edwina Mistry. Here she shares the best advice she’s been given, what makes her tick and her favourite productivity tips.

What drives you to make a difference?

I like to create constant opportunities for people around me. When I help someone and something happens, I feel such a sense of purpose, a surge of energy, happiness and fulfilment. Witnessing people succeed and achieve their goals is what drives me to make a difference. It’s often the small things that make a big difference; encouraging words or facilitating their decision making. When I see someone proudly walk tall with confidence after helping them achieve, it makes me want to keep doing what I do.

What is your approach to problem solving?

When a problem arises, it always provides an opportunity for improvements, including systems and relationships. First, it’s important to identify the problem, then list and evaluate the available options. Effective problem solving does take some time and attention, but this will always be less time and attention than if the problem itself remains! I like to describe a problem like a curve in the road. Take the right direction and you will find yourself in good shape for the journey that follows. Take it too fast and it’s likely you will be derailed and the problem will remain.

How do you manage pressure?

I regularly make time for myself. Every day, I spend 10 minutes on the Insight Timer app to prepare my frame of mind for the day. If I find myself in a difficult situation, I take a few deep breaths to avoid reacting straightaway. For me, it is always important to focus on maintaining a calm demeanour, no matter what happens. This takes practice, but staying calm shows that you can take challenges in your stride and complete tasks even in difficult circumstances. I refuse to engage in arguments or disagreements with colleagues. When I feel myself getting wound up, I stop, take a step back to think about what I want the final outcome to be and then refocus with a clear mind.

Favourite productivity tips?

  • Walk and talk! I find walking meetings very productive and I encourage others to try it.
  • Prioritise work and set realistic deadlines. I prioritise tasks according to time commitment and priority level.
  • Take regular breaks. A short break calms your mind and increases your overall productivity.
  • Learn to delegate. I’ve learnt I can’t do everything on my own, so I delegate when I can.
  • Disconnect from personal emails and social media at certain times to avoid distraction.

The best piece of advice you have been given?

My father gave me the confidence to dream big and try new things. He told me to always keep smiling and be positive. Smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you will cry alone, was a constant refrain and I always carry this in the back of my mind. I have seen how having a poisitve attitude has always bought good things to me.

What inspires you?

It is the people around me who inspire me to do what I do. I am lucky to have the support and love of my husband and daughter who constantly believe in everything I do.

What do you do when you are not working?

I love spending time with my family and cooking for them. I enjoy relaxing with a good book, listening to classical music or taking a walk on the beach. I love interior design and we like to travel, locally and internationally whenever we can.

What technology could you simply not live without?

I couldn’t live without my phone, it is easily held in the palm of your hand and links you to the world.

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